Tagged / dementia; research

ESRC funded project: “Dementia Friendly Architecture – Reducing Spatial Disorientation in Dementia Care”

ESRC logo New ESRC-funded project in Psychology and BUDI

This week saw the start of a two year ESRC-funded project entitled “Dementia Friendly Architecture: Reducing Spatial Disorientation in Dementia Care Homes”. The project, which has been awarded to Dr Jan Wiener (Psychology/BUDI), aims to develop design guidelines for dementia-friendly architecture that minimise spatial disorientation, one of the earliest signs of dementia.

Post-Doctoral researcher Dr Ramona Grzeschik, who started on the first of December, and Chris Hilton (PhD student) will test how different aspects of build environments affect orientation and navigation abilities in people with dementia. In order to do so, they will use cutting-edge virtual environments and eye-tracking technology (https://microsites.bournemouth.ac.uk/wayfinding/) which allows for systematic manipulations of environmental properties.

This international multidisciplinary project brings together researchers from cognitive psychology, dementia research and architecture. It is a collaboration between Bournemouth University’s Wayfinding Lab, BUDI (Bournemouth University Dementia Institute), Northumbria University (Prof Ruth Dalton, Co-I), UWS (Prof Anthea Innes, Co-I) and the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases (Prof Wolbers, Prof Nestor, both project-partners).

 

Puerto Rico welcomes a new BUDI


Every year the prestigious Alzheimer’s Disease International conference welcomes practitioners, academics, people living with dementia, medical professionals and clinicians from all over the world to share their latest knowledge, experience and research about dementia careThis year I was lucky enough to attend and represent BUDI at the 29th International Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International Dementia: Working Together for a Global Solution, hosted in San Juan on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico.

Three abstracts were accepted to be orally presented, so this was a great opportunity to showcase some of BUDI’s innovative research projects to world leading dementia specialists. The three presented projects were the Technology Club (Dementia Care and Technology), Tales of the Sea (Empowering people with dementia) and (Dont) Mention Dementia (Voices of people with dementia and their families).

All three presentations were well received and stimulated discussion and many questions. The feedback I received after my presentations and during the conference was that BUDI’s projects were seen as innovative, creative and great examples of how to engage people with dementia in research and how people with dementia should be at the core of all research.

Above and beyond presenting, I had the opportunity to catch up with Peter, an Australian colleague (who I have been working on the international GRIID research project with for around two years and have never met!) Peter presented the GRIID project (Gateway to Rural International Initiatives in Dementia) at this conference. After his presentation we were able to meet and come up with some really innovative ideas to take the GRIID project to the next level.

To top off a very successful conference, I won a huge kangaroo courtesy of the Australian Alzheimer’s Association. He was unfortunately a bit too big to fit into my case so he to travelled home with another colleague…I wonder if I will ever get him back as he was very cute!

Since returning home I have started to get in touch with some of the many contacts I made at this conference and look forward to potential international collaborations. This conference highlights all the good work currently being undertaken but also emphasises the amount of work we still need to do. I invite you to check out the below clip of Richard Taylor PhD, who presented numerous times at the conference. Richard is extremely funny and has a great approach and attitude to life. It is very thought provoking as he shares his thoughts about living with dementia. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHQfc3KJ9qE.

Clare Cutler, BUDI Project Manager

Value of conference attendance?

October is the month of the annual Alzheimer Europe (www.alzheimer-europe.org) meeting. This year three BUDI team members attended the rather nice setting in Vienna a draw for everyone, although we all had very different agendas and expectations. Alzheimer Europe is one of my personal favourite conferences as I’ve been going for years and it creates the opportunity to meet with new and catch up with a range of international colleagues, and is actually the main reason I go to these kind of events; yes it is good to present the work, and as a team we had two posters and three oral presentations this year, which is not bad for an Institute only in existence for 6 months, but it is the networking aspect that provides inspiration and creates new ideas and new collaborations that motivates me to go to these kind of events.

Patricia McParland is BUDI’s project manager, she has presented at a few dementia conferences in the last 3 years but for this conference her main concern was to ensure her cutting edge work doctoral work, that she is in the final throes of writing up, on public awareness of dementia is getting out there as this is an area of increasing policy concern both in the UK and internationally and many are starting to work in this particular area. As well as presenting a poster on her doctoral work that received positive attention, she presented a paper reporting on one of BUDI’s project about Dementia Friendly Tourism. The concept of Dementia Friendly Tourism has caught the imagination of many we speak to about our dementia work and this proved to be the case again in Vienna. Colleagues from France, Spain and Jersey were particularly interested in this project and keen to explore how these ideas could be applied to their regions; we will see what transpires over the coming months in the way of collaboration but this is a nice example of the added value of going to a conference.

Clare Cutler is a research assistant in BUDI and has just started her PhD exploring experiences of war and dementia, as an Early Career Researcher Clare was thrilled to be attending her first interational conference, and her excitement was contagious! but she was also rather anxious about giving her first presentation on one of BUDI’s projects, GRIID, Gateway to Rural International Innovations in Dementia, on behalf of an international team. She needn’t have worried as she went down a storm; mainly because she said at the beginning that she was nervous, this was her first presentation and then let out a big sigh as she finished. This created a huge amount of goodwill to her personally as well as her giving a presentation on an innovative interational partnership project. We had received the support of Alzheimer Disease International (www.alz.co.uk) to conduct part of this study and the opportunity for further discussion about working together to target rural areas and developing countries is another of the added value benefits that being in Vienna brought for me this year.

I presented a paper on a recently completed evaluation of a telehealth project to diagnose and follow up people with dementia living on the Shetland Isles and Grampian, rural areas of Scotland. The added value of this work relates to the INTERDEM (www.interdem.org) meeting that was held the day before the conference. (This is another example of added value by the way, going to other meetings around a conference.) Interdem is an application/invite only pan European network of highly active psychosocial researchers in the dementia field; as a member I was also able to take my BUDI colleagues in their student roles, a new doctoral and just about to complete doctoral student, to this full day meeting and they found this an amazing experience as many of the ‘names’ of long established dementia academics are part of this group which is always a buzz to meet people you’ve quoted for the first time, who offered real warmth, enthusiasm and support for their work. The Interdem meeting this time round was a mix of presentations (including one from the task force on technology and dementia that I co-lead)  and working groups developing bid ideas, collaborative papers and general brain storming about how to take forward new work in the field. The technology task force has been working on a bid around exergaming and dementia and we used the lunchtime slot to meet to work up our ideas further  (more added value) as well as updating Interdem members about our progress with this bid during the meeting itself. But we also discussed new bid ideas and telehealth, the focus of my Alzheimer Europe paper, was one of the favoured topics; one of our jobs now is to see the details of a long-awaited funding call  (JPND) due out December 2012 and get writing another EU bid.  We also agreed to write a collaborative paper on technology and dementia, but a successful meeting is one that generates new work from my point of view!

My other bit of dissemination work was a poster about ongoing research evaluating dementia care in Maltese hopsital wards. The added value about this relates to the conference venue being in Malta next year and I am sure this has partly influenced the invitation, of the Maltese Dementia Society member who is a long standing collaborator of mine as well as being the local organisor for the 2013 meeting, for me to give a plenary there next year!

So in all, the value of going to conferences for new researchers, is undoubtedly to present their work, to meet esteemed colleagues and the resultant ‘buzz’ this brings, to learn about other research in the field and to start their own networks (a good example of this is Patricia joining a writing team for a methods related paper, more added value!). For me it is a chance to catch up with people and to discuss potential new collaborations. In previous years it has also been about keeping a profile of the work of my team, this year it was about starting to create a profile for a new BU team to an international audience. I am pleased to report that all boxes were ticked this time round!

De Hogeweyk: unique lifestyle housing for people with dementia

I (Marilyn Cash, HSC) recently had the opportunity to visit De Hogeweyk a nursing home in the Netherlands that provides care to 152 people in the later stages of dementia. Unlike traditional nursing homes, De Hogeweyk is designed as a small self contained village with 23 individual homes, a supermarket, a hair and beauty salon, restaurant, theatre and traditional Dutch ‘brown cafe’. The homes are designed to reflect seven different typical Dutch ‘lifestyles’, identified by Motivaction a social research agency:-
1. Traditional for residents whose identity came from carrying out a traditional profession
2. City for “urbanized” residents whose life had been spent in the centre of the city
3. “Het Gooi” for residents who attach importance to manners, etiquette, and external appearance
4. Cultural: for residents who appreciate art and fine culture
5. Christian: for residents for whom practicing their Christian religion is an important part of daily life
6. Indonesian: a lifestyle for residents with an Indonesian background
7. Homey: for residents who believe that caring for the family and household is important.

De Hogeweyk allows residents to experience life as if they were living in the community but from within a safe and secure environment. Residents are able to take part in everyday activities in their homes supported by a team of staff and volunteers. They are able to walk freely through the streets and gardens which are designed to reflect normal life with street signs, streetlights, benches and squares where people can congregate. Being able to move freely around not only contributes to their health but also gives a feeling of ‘being at home’. The feeling of normality is further supported by the fact that none of the staff wear uniforms. The scheme has been designed to integrate with the local community and the facilities are open to anyone, not just to residents and their families.
A total of 240 staff (equivalent to 170 full-time jobs) work at De Hogeweyk; this includes, nurses, nursing assistants, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, a full-time doctor and a Psychiatrist. They are supported by 120 volunteers, who are mostly retired people living in the local community. Many of the volunteers live alone and appreciate the social interaction that volunteering gives them. Residents are funded through the Dutch national insurance scheme for long-term care
De Hogeweyk has been criticised for being a deception; but I think that most people reading this would prefer this ‘lifestyle’ to that offered by a traditional nursing home.

Dementia Cupcake Club – research in the community

Throughout July and August 2012 BUDI (on behalf of Bournemouth Borough Council) have been delivering a series of sessions called the Cupcake Club at a local care scheme for people with dementia. For six weeks participants have been taking part in a variety of fun activities such as decorating cupcakes, arts and crafts, gardening and playing the Nintendo Wii. The purpose of the Cupcake Club was to provide a fun and informal environment for people with dementia to be creative and active over the summer period. The Cupcake Club has provided BUDI with a wonderful opportunity to go into the community and meet a group of interesting, funny and charismatic people. The sessions were thoroughly enjoyed by both the participants and the research team and apart from providing a lot of laughter, the sessions have shown that people with dementia are as capable as anyone else and that they are also quite good at Wii bowling!

A second Cupcake Club group has now started and analysis of the evaluation data from both Cupcake Clubs will begin in the Autumn. All findings will be drawn together in an evaluation report for Bournemouth Bourough Council towards the end of the year. In the meantime there is a lot of fun for the BUDI team faciliating these sessions in the community and for the participants.